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Jones hits win column at 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup

Team Jones is back on track at the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.

After a miserable 0-2 opening day at Revolution Place in Grande Prairie, Alta., the reigning Canadian champs from Winnipeg — (Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen and coach Wendy Morgan) — earned what can only be described as a must-win in the compressed round-robin draw, beating Tracy Fleury’s team from Sudbury, Ont., 9-4 on Thursday morning.

The win kept Team Jones’s hopes alive for a playoff berth, but the five-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion knows her team doesn’t have much wiggle room.

“I missed a couple big shots yesterday and if we make them, maybe it’s a different story,” said Jones, who’ll be back at Revolution Place in February as Team Canada for the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. “But we came out today and played really well, and we’re still kicking.”

Jones took control in the fourth end. With the teams tied 2-2, Fleury was looking at four Jones counters in the rings and needed to draw the eight-foot to score. Instead, she was heavy with her draw and Jones stole four to go up 6-2.

Two ends later, Jones added three more to put the game in the bank. Her team will be back on the ice in the Thursday night draw against Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque (1-1).

Calgary's Kevin Koe directs his sweepers during Thursday morning's win. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Calgary’s Kevin Koe directs his sweepers during Thursday morning’s win. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“We just have to get some wins together here and you’re never out until you’re out,” said Jones. “We’ll keep playing and hopefully they’ll let us in at the end of the week.”

In other women’s action, Ottawa’s Rachel Homan moved into sole possession of top spot in the seven-team round-robin standings with an 8-4 win over Winnipeg’s Kristy McDonald.

Homan was up 3-0 early, taking two in the second end and stealing one in the third, but McDonald rallied to tie it with three in the fourth.

Homan, though, would take back control with a sixth-end deuce and another steal of one in the seventh to improve to 3-0.

“Absolutely, there’s still room for improvement,” said Team Homan vice-skip Emma Miskew. “We’re still learning the ice and learning how to throw to make shots here. All the teams are really good, and we really can’t let up. We have to stay tough and keep trying to make all of our shots.”

Sherry Middaugh (Coldwater, Ont.) had a chance to keep pace with Homan at 3-0, but lost her first game, bowing 8-4 to defending champ Val Sweeting of Edmonton.

The Albertans, now tied with Middaugh at 2-1, scored three in the fourth end and stole two in the fifth and never looked back.

In men’s play, meanwhile, Calgary’s Kevin Koe remained the lone unbeaten squad in Grande Prairie, rolling to an 8-6 triumph over Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock (1-2).

Koe, backed up by third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert, broke the game open with four in the eighth end.

“Good start,” nodded Kennedy. “But every game is so tough — we’re still waiting for an easy game here, but they don’t come. We’ve played some good tight games and made the shots in the last few ends when it matters. So, so far, so good. Kevin has been great all year; he might be the most consistent curler in Canada right now. He’s just making everything. So it’s our job, the other three of us, to just set up good ends for him and let him do his thing.”

In the other men’s game, Mike McEwen improved to 2-1 with a 9-4 win over Reid Carruthers (1-2) in an all-Winnipeg rematch of the 2015 Manitoba men’s final.

The 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup continues with draws today at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times MST).

TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Hardware Canada Cup. Click here for the complete schedule

The Home Hardware Canada Cup format calls for the men’s and women’s teams to play a three-day round robin, with the first-place teams advancing to their respective finals on Sunday, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals on Saturday, after any required tiebreakers, to determine the other finalists.

For ticket information for the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, go to www.curling.ca/2015canadacup/tickets/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2015canadacup/?lang=fr